The “world’s largest floating wind farm” produces its first power

Equinor offices photographed in February 2019. Equinor is one of several companies looking into developing floating wind farms.

Odin Jaeger | Bloomberg | Getty Images

A facility touted as the world’s largest floating wind farm produced its first power over the weekend, with more turbines due to be operational before the end of the year.

In a statement Monday, the Norwegian energy company Equinor — best known for his work in the oil and gas industry — said power production from the first wind turbines in Hywind Tampen took place on Sunday afternoon.

While wind is a renewable energy source, Hywind Tampen will be used to aid energy operations in oil and gas fields in the North Sea. Equinor said Hywind Tampen’s first force has been sent to the Gullfaks oil and gas field.

“I am proud that we have now begun production at Hywind Tampen, Norway’s first and largest floating wind farm in the world,” said Geir Tongsvik, Equinor’s Executive Vice President for Projects, Drilling and Procurement.

“This is a unique project, the first wind farm in the world to power oil and gas production facilities.”

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Hywind Tampen is located approximately 140 kilometers (86.9 miles) off the coast of Norway, at depths ranging from 260 to 300 metres.

Seven of the wind farm’s turbines are scheduled to be commissioned in 2022, with the remaining four to be installed in 2023. When complete, Equinor says it will have a system capacity of 88 megawatts.

Besides Equinor, the other companies involved in the project are Vår Energi, INPEX Idemitsu, Petoro, Wintershall Dea and OMV.

Equinor said Hywind Tampen is expected to meet about 35% of electricity demand at the Gullfaks and Snorre fields. This will reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the fields by about 200,000 tons annually, the company added.

The use of a floating wind farm to help produce fossil fuels is likely to provoke some controversy.

The impact of fossil fuels on the environment is significant and the United Nations says that since the 19th century, “human activities have been the main driver of climate change, mainly due to the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas.”

Speaking at the COP27 Climate Change Summit held in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, last week, the United Nations Secretary-General He issued a stark warning to the attendees.

“We are in a fight for our lives and we are losing,” Antonio Guterres said. “Greenhouse gas emissions are constantly increasing, global temperatures continue to rise, and our planet is rapidly approaching tipping points that will make climate chaos irreversible.”

nascent industry

Equinor said the turbines in Hywind Tampen were mounted on a floating concrete hull, with a common mooring system. One advantage of floating turbines is that they can be installed in deeper waters than fixed bottom turbines.

Back in 2017, Equinor began operations in Hywind Scotland, a five-turbine, 30-megawatt facility it calls the world’s first floating wind farm.

Since then, a number of major companies have made strides in this sector.

In August 2021, RWE Renewables and Kansai Electric Power signed an agreement To assess the feasibility of a “large-scale floating offshore wind project” in waters off the Japanese coast.

In September of that year, the Norwegian company Statkraft About a long-term purchase agreement for a 50MW floating wind farm – which has also been called “the largest in the world” – off the coast of Aberdeen, Scotland.

A few months later, in December 2021, he planned three major offshore wind development projects in Australia – two of which are looking to integrate floating wind technology – It has been announced.

Earlier this year, in the meantimeAnd the The White House said it was targeting 15 gigawatts of floating offshore wind capacity by 2035.

“The Biden-Harris administration is launching coordinated actions to develop new floating offshore wind platforms, an emerging clean energy technology that will help the United States lead offshore wind,” a statement released by the US Department of the Interior said. in time.

In addition to the 15 GW ambition, the Floating Offshore Wind Shot aims to reduce the costs of floating technologies by more than 70% by 2035.

“The large-scale application of offshore wind technology will open new opportunities for offshore wind power off the coasts of California, Oregon, the Gulf of Maine and beyond,” the statement added.

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